Is Mitt Romney Being Honest About His Health Care Plan?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Is Mitt Romney Being Honest About His Health Care Plan?

    When GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced that he would deliver a landmark speech on health care earlier this month, many expected — or perhaps hoped — that he would admit that the reform plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts was a mistake.

    Instead, Romney doubled down. “A lot of pundits around the nation are saying that I should just stand up and say that it was a mistake. . . But there’s only one problem with that: I wouldn’t be honest. I, in fact, did what I believe was right for the people of my state,” he said.

    Romney also tried to insist that Massachusetts’ plan was somehow better than President Obama’s federal health care law. “Our plan was a state solution to a state problem. [Obama's] is a power grab by the federal government to put in place a one-size-fits-all solution across the nation,” he said.

    Romney may have declared himself honest — but the facts speak otherwise. Obamacare is virtually the same as the failing Bay State plan. And though he may not want to admit it, Romney has supported the key, “power-grabbing” features of the federal health reform law for more than a decade.

    By nearly all metrics, Romneycare is failing. Health costs in Massachusetts last year rose to 35% of the state budget, up from 22% in 2000. And that’s with well over a billion dollars in federal assistance — or more than $3,000 for every state resident — to help implement the plan.

    While the plan has insured about 4% more of the state’s residents, most of the newly insured are in heavily subsidized insurance plans. Reimbursement rates for doctors are so low that doctors are refusing to take on the influx of new patients for fear of losing money.

    Over half of the state’s primary care practices are closed to new patients, according to a new report by the Massachusetts Medical Society. The average wait time for an appointment with an internist in Massachusetts is now 48 days. To see an obstetrician/gynecologist, Bay Staters must be prepared to wait 41 days. And for gastroenterologists, it’s a 43-day queue.

    The state’s insurers are posting hundreds of millions in losses even as current Governor Deval Patrick has tried to fine and otherwise bully insurers into accepting price controls. Massachusetts State Senate President Therese Murray has even proposed changing the way that doctors are paid and moving to a system where they receive a flat fee for each patient.

    Thanks to Romneycare, Massachusetts is headed toward the kind of single-payer system Romney claims to deplore.

    The vehicle for Romneycare’s single-payer path is its government-run exchange — the “Commonwealth Connector.” State officials have extended coverage to more residents primarily through Medicaid, the joint federal-state health plan for low-income folks. Of the 176,766 insured through the Connector, more than 152,000 are on subsidized plans, most paying nothing.

    Obamacare intends to expand coverage in the exact same way — through government-run exchanges, the massive growth of Medicaid, and federal subsidies to those families earning between 134 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.

    When asked how the two laws compare, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a health adviser to both Romney and President Obama, said, “Basically, it’s the same thing.”

    And in a recent speech in Boston, President Obama “thanked” Romney for providing a model for his federal health reform effort. “With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts we said that healthcare should no longer be a privilege in this country,” the president declared at a Democratic fundraiser.

    It also strains credibility for Romney to claim that he was only advocating “a state solution to a state problem.” Massachusetts pioneered the highly controversial individual insurance mandate — which requires individuals to get health insurance or pay a fine — that is at the center of Obamacare and is presently the target of constitutional challenges.

    Further, Romney supported the individual mandate not just at the state level — but at the federal level, too. In 1994, Romney told The New Republic he supported a legislative compromise on health care by Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) that would have included a national mandate. In 2007, Romney hedged a bit on the issue but still told the Washington Post he believed in the idea and that if states imposed mandates, “We’ll end up with a nation that’s taken a mandate approach.”

    Romney may continue to believe he did what was right for his state’s health care. But there’s one problem with that — any objective look at the facts would conclude that’s just not an honest assessment.

    Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Truth About Obamacare.
  2. And this is the GOPs man in 2012 :eek:
  3. Has all trimmings of a landslide defeat. :D .
  4. Max E.

    Max E.

    So you post an article about how Romney care is the exact same as Obamacare and it is a total piece of shit, yet you support Obama, as well as Obamacare..... makes sense.
  5. Ricter


    The important part is actually about Romney's candidacy, and his argument that his health program works, and that it's not like Obama's program, thus he would be a better president. His premises don't stand up.
  6. Research by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that President Barack Obama and his GOP rival Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, are the only two presidential candidates to have raised more than $40,000 from the health insurance industry so far this election cycle.

    As of June 30, the date of the most recent campaign finance reports, Romney edges out Obama in terms of money raised, $43,750 versus $42,675, the Center's analysis indicates.

    Both men have favored health care policies that include an individual mandate for people to purchase private insurance plans. Romney did so as governor of Massachusetts, and Obama did so as part of the health care reform package he signed into law last year -- a package that did not include a public insurance option to compete against private plans, as many liberals hoped it would.

    As far as the insurance companies are concerned, both Obama and Romney are in lockstep on the issue.
  7. Max E.

    Max E.

    Given the fact that he said he would repeal Obamacare he would in fact be a better president, because there is no fixing that monstrosity, and if Obama stays in power, there is no way he will allow his signature piece of legislation to be repealed.
  8. Ricter


    That's a different argument, with an interesting idea: since Obamacare is basically Romneycare, he'd be repealing his own plan.
  9. Romney is stuck with this unpopular issue just as Perry is stuck with the Texas DREAM Act. Neither has done a very good job of explaining it away, and the mmore they try, the more people they alienate.

    I like Romney, but his health care position lacks coherence. As I understand it, he says it is fine for states to impose mandates but not the federal government. The problem with health insurance now is twofold. One, much of it is tied to employment. Two, except for federal employees, all of it is run state-by-state. It seems to me Romney's ideas exacerbate the second problem.

    No one wants to address the core issue of mandates. You can't force insurers to take everyone and ignore preexisting conditions unless you force everyone to have coverage. Forcing people to buy insurance is repugnant to libertarians,among others, and possibly the Constitution. So we are back to the issue posed to Ron Paul, a young person with no insurance who desperately needs care. How do you pay for his treatment without encouraging others to go without insurance?
  10. In a case like this the cost of treatment could become an undischargeable debt. For those with no chance of paying it back, it's THEIR problem.
    #10     Sep 28, 2011